Veteran REIT Observer Sees Continued Growth for Industry

Ken Campbell, co-founder of CBRE Clarion Securities, joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWeek 2016: NAREIT’s Investor Forum at the Waldorf Astoria New York.

Campbell, a long-time REIT industry observer, founded the first REIT-dedicated publication, Realty Trust Review, in 1970.

According to Campbell, the REIT industry still has plenty of room to grow.

“The numbers are absolutely astounding,” Campbell said. Ten years ago, REITs distributed $13 billion in dividends. Today, that number has risen to $40 billion a year in the United States alone, he noted.

During that same 10-year period, the market value of the industry has risen by about 150 percent, Campbell observed. “I don’t see anything that’s going to upset that. There’ll be bumps along the way, but we are going to grow,” Campbell said.

Meanwhile, Campbell said the most successful REITs share three main characteristics: value for shareholders; a focus on high-quality property; and lower levels of leverage.

Campbell also made the case that the modern REIT industry has softened the impact of the real estate cycle. The abundance of real estate data, and a lower level of corporate debt, has resulted in a reduction in overall risk, Campbell said. Reduced risk has lengthened and “tamed” the real estate cycle, according to Campbell.